Gold gains on bleak economic outlook

Reuters | Update:

.Gold edged up on Friday as investors worried about a sharp slowdown in global growth after the European Central Bank (ECB) slashed growth outlook and weak Chinese data, but a rally in dollar kept bullion on track for its second weekly decline.

Spot gold was up 0.3 per cent at $1,289.81 per ounce as of 0548 GMT. The metal, earlier this week, hit an over five-week low and was down about 0.2 per cent so far this week.

US gold futures were up 0.3 per cent at $1,289.80 an ounce.

The dollar index was holding near a three-month peak hit in the previous session, while the euro wallowed close to a 21-month low against the dollar after the ECB postponed an interest rate hike until 2020.

"ECB decision echoed U.S. dollar strength, and we saw risk aversion and, while the dollar rose U.S. bond yields fell on safe-haven demand so, there was a bit of a conflict," said Ilya Spivak, a senior currency strategist at DailyFX.

While falling yields make the non-yielding bullion more attractive, stronger dollar makes it costlier for investors holding other currencies.

Asian stocks also shuddered lower after shockingly weak export data from China heightened market fears about a global growth, a day after European policymakers slashed growth forecasts for the bloc.

Investors are now waiting for the US nonfarm payroll report later in the day for indications on the health of the US economy and its impact on the Federal Reserve's monetary policy.

"The market is very reluctant to commit to a direction especially on something that is going to shape the outlook on the Fed rates and the dollar," Spivak said.

Investors are also focused on trade talks between the United States and China and US president Donald Trump on Wednesday said that trade talks with China were moving along well and predicted either a "good deal" or no deal.

"Strong non-farm payrolls results and further positive developments in US-China trade talks are likely to drive gold down to $1,250/oz, which remains a key support level for gold," OCBC Bank analysts said in a note.

Elsewhere, palladium slipped 0.3 per cent to $1,522.30 per ounce and was on track for its first weekly decline in five.

Silver was up 0.3 per cent at $15.06 per ounce, after slipping to its lowest since 27 December in the previous session.

Platinum was up 0.2 per cent at $814.43 per ounce, after touching its lowest since 19 February at $806.50 earlier. It was down 5 per cent for the week, its biggest percentage decline since August.

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